Flower Girl and Ring Bearer 101: The Basics of Your Littlest Wedding Guests

Just because they're small, doesn't mean they don't have big demands

Updated 07/07/17

Sue Kessler of Christian Oth Studio

Even if you’ve decided to go totally kid-free for your wedding reception, there are a few tiny tots who just might make the cut (for the ceremony, anyway): your ring bearer and flower girl. Whether they’re your nieces and nephews or your best friends’ offspring, that cute-factor is hard to beat. Including little ones in your wedding is absolutely aww-inducing, but it also requires some extra consideration. Our experts are here to break down the basics.

Are They Necessary?

The great thing about flower girls and ring bearers: unlike witnesses or a certified officiant, they’re not actually necessary to get you formally hitched. Don’t know any cute kids you totally adore? Don’t sweat it! Of course, if you’re a sucker for toddlers and can’t wait to see your godson in that little seersucker romper you spotted, by all means add kids to your wedding party. Not a kid person in general? Skip the whole thing entirely.

Who Should You Choose?

Most often, flower girls and ring bearers are children of those close to the couple. They might be the kids of the maid of honor or best man, the couple’s nieces or nephews, or the children of other friends or family members. If either of you has children from a previous relationship who are a little too young to be bridesmaids or groomsmen, this is a great way to include them in the proceedings!

What Will They Wear?

When you’re deciding how your bridesmaids and groomsmen will be dressed on your wedding day, keep an eye out for coordinating attire for your youngest attendants, as well. Traditionally, the flower girl’s dress features details that echo the bride’s gown (such as lace or a full skirt). You can also opt for a color and fabric that match the bridesmaids’ dresses, or a print featuring a similar color scheme. For the ring bearer, keep the formality of your wedding in mind. Those tiny tuxes are so cute, as are little suits or khakis with bowties and suspenders.

Talk to their parents about whether they’d like you to give them guidance, or if they’d prefer that you pick exactly what you want their kids’ outfits to be.

Who Pays?

As with your wedding party, the ring bearer and flower girl (well...their parents!) pay for their own attire. You may, however, opt to purchase the outfits as a gift, or pick out a sweet accessory that could become a cherished memento.

How Will They Process?

If the flower girl and ring bearer are old enough to walk on their own, they should head down the aisle after the wedding party has entered, delivering the rings to the best man and tossing petals as they go. Not quite mobile? If mom or dad are in the wedding party, they can carry their kiddos during the processional, or you could have older kids escort the young ones on their big walk. A wagon decked out in flowers is always a good idea!

Are They Invited to the Party?

This is the most important question, and one you should answer before you invite any kids to participate. If you’re having other kids at your wedding, then yes, the flower girl and ring bearer get an invite. Seat them with their parents, or arrange for a kids’ table with a babysitter, kid-friendly food, and fun activities. Don’t worry about trying to squeeze the kids in at the head table, unless their parents are in the wedding party. They’ll be much happier sitting with mom and dad, and your bridesmaids won’t have to worry about soothing someone else’s crying toddler.

If your reception is adults only, work with the parents of the tots in question to help them find a local babysitter (and consider covering the costs yourselves) and a spot to watch the kids, whether it’s in their parents’ hotel room or in a nearby room at the venue.

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